Happily Booked My Weekends

My weekends, starting this fall, have pretty much been booked up solid. No, I didn’t get a part-time job. No, I’m not going away every weekend (although I would love to…) I will happily be giving up my weekends to stand on the sides of a soccer field cheering on my baby.

Zombiegirl made the town’s Travel Team. What, you didn’t hear the screams from there? I answered the phone from work and she screamed so loud I was a little deaf for about an hour. To say she was excited would be an understatement. This is the kid that breathes soccer. No more Intramural League. And for the soccer-impaired, Intramural is where the town divvies up the girls and lets them play against each other. I personally think it’s hard for the girls to play Intramural. They play against their classmates and friends. I myself have witnessed girls holding back scoring against their friends. But at that level it’s supposed to be fun and a learning experience.

So the Travel Team plays other teams in the county. They’ll start off in Division 5, which is the lowest division. They don’t have a record yet so it’s good that they will be in a lower division. The coach already picked their name. It’s the “Panthers.” Um…yes. Ten and eleven year old girls. Roar. Snarl. The town’s soccer league is the “Chiefs” and I can understand why they can’t use “Seminoles” or “Cherokees”- just not politically correct. So they’re the Panthers. Zombiegirl wanted, of course, THE ZOMBIES, but that just didn’t have the killer connotation associated with a sports team. I had to remind her that zombies were slow and not very bright. She countered back that zombies are vicious and eat their victims brains. We settled for her being a zombie soccer player for Halloween. She also picked ZOMBIE for the back of her practice jersey. Lovely little girl…

So this fall, and for the next six or seven years, I will be on my best soccer mom behavior. They red-card the parents in these games! It will be VERY hard to keep my mouth shut and not yell at the other team. I’ll be posting the results of the games here- not for you, my loyal readers- but for me to keep a record for all of eternity.

I’m also the team’s fundraising guru. If you (my loyal readers-all two of you) have any ideas for fundraisers, let me know! If not- buy a candy bar to support The Panthers!

Fake Girlfriends, or How I Stalk Mommy Bloggers

Oh, I’m so sad! I just finished reading, from start to finish, one of my new favorite bloggers. Since I’ve given up The Pioneer Woman, (cuz she just don’t “Keep it Real”) I’ve had a void in my life. Sure, I have my other blogs- my crafty blogs, my snarky blogs and my funny blogs, but I need that perfect blog where I can spy on someone else’s life, learn stuff about them and pretend to be their friend.

If my REAL friends would blog more often, I wouldn’t need to stalk someone else.

And remember? My perfect night out is driving around drinking wine and looking in peoples windows…

So in my internet travels, I’ve found two blogs from two very funny ladies who just crack my shit up.

Barefoot Foodie, or Brittany, is a new mom who curses endlessly, picks on her own weight, but loves her husband and children unconditionally. She doesn’t exploit her kids- in fact very few posts are ABOUT her kids. She writes about her pregnancy (she’s very fertile,) her hunger (she’s always hungry,) and how much she sweats (alot.) Read her. I swear you’ll laugh out loud.

The Bloggess, or Jenny, is a super-blogger who writes for the Houston Chronicle, has a satirical Sex Column, an advice column and still finds time to blog. I haven’t read her whole blog, or her Sex Column- it’s blocked at work- but I’m working on it. Anyone who blogs that she got a cougar skull with candy cane antlers for Christmas from her father– I want to know! So I guess when things quiet down at work, Ill start reading the Blogress from the beginning!

Good work, Brit and Jen! May I call you Brit and Jen? I should- I’m your new best friend!

About Me

Cast of Characters:

Me: Wife, Mom, Architect, Procrastinator

Husband, Dad, Archi-Animator, Coach, Doorman to the Dogs

Beena: Adelphi Student, Retail Manager, Disney Princess, Future Math Teacher.

Obdurate Daughter: Wandering the neighborhood, not making eye contact.

Zombiegirl: Current 5th Grader, Soccer player, Johnny Depp lover

What to say about me?

Under construction (No, I’m not under construction. Well. Maybe parts of me are…but I meant this section, tool!)

So while I think about what witty thing I’m going to say about myself and my family, read this insanity.

Pluck You Elasticity!

More rain today. More rain, in fact, for the next five days. How do people in Seattle deal with weather like this? I’ve been so tired the past few weeks, and I think it’s because of the rain. Thankfully, however, my migraines haven’t been bad at all. Maybe it’s the three week “vacation” I had. Anyway- I could so put my head down on my desk right now and sleep. And yes, I’m writing this at work. I’m so tired when I get home, I can’t do anything except change into comfy clothes and zone out in front of the TV. I have things piling up at home that I have to finish/start/make/paint- I just don’t have any energy. And those magic pills are not working.

This email greeted me this morning from one of my soccer moms- Hey Jodi! It was the laugh I needed. Not only was I tired this morning, I was soaking wet- from mid-thigh to foot. My pants are swishing, my shoes are squishing, and I’m not happy. But this cheered me up. I can’t vouch for the validity of the whole Maya/Oprah thing because I’m too weary to look it up, but it’s funny anyway…

“In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday.. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older.

And, there on television, she said it was ‘exciting.’

Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day…like her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first.

The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words!

Maya Angelou said this: ‘I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.’

‘I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.’

‘I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.’

‘I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.’

‘I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.’

‘I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back..’

‘I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.’

‘I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.’

‘I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.’

‘I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.’

‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

I invite you to send this to five phenomenal women today…If you do, something good will happen: You will boost another woman’s self-esteem..If you don’t…the elastic will break and your underpants will fall down around your ankles!

I didn’t send it on, I posted it. Pretty good words to live by, Maya!

On a separate note: when I plucked my eyebrows this morning, nine out of ten of them were white. Lovely.

…And Your Mother Dresses You Funny

Ugh- I hate this layout. My last layout had these funky Photobucket ads that were embedded in the 3-column layout that I like. According to New Tips for Bloggers, I took out the offending Photobucket link. When I viewed my blog, everything was reversed color-wise and it looked like ass. I tried almost all morning to put 3-columns back on another template, and Blogger wasn’t having it. So I’m stuck with this. When I get home, I’ll look for another template that doesn’t make me wince everytime I open it.

I’ll post about the weekend in a bit- we went to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and out to Riverhead. It was out in Tanger Outlets in Riverhead that I decided to take steps to get rid of my fat, bloated body. Beena, Zombiegirl and I had a blast buying clothes for Zombiegirl for camp, and Beena’s upcoming trip. I desperately needed new stuff, so I got in on the fun and bought pants, shirts and a new watch. When I got home, everything fit (if I squeezed my jumbo belly into them) but they just didn’t look right.

(But Mamasoo- you’re a vegetarian! You should be nice and slim since you eat all those veggies! WTF?)

Yes- key word there is SHOULD. I gave up meat, but didn’t give up cookies, nuts, candy and chocolate. And ice cream. And how many calories are in a Boca Burger anyway?

Soooo, I kick started my diet with a SlimFAst for breakfast and lunch, and these all natural capsules from SlimQuick. They help:

  • Reduce excess water retention. This I definitely need. I look like I’m 5 months preggers when I’m bloated two weeks before “that time.”
  • Balance female hormones. Oh. Yes. My hormones need balance. I’m like a madwoman half the time- cranky, irritable- just ask MR. And some of my co-workers.
  • Reduce stress. Need I even comment on this?
  • Increase metabolism. I thought it was the crappy weather that had me wanting to lie on the couch in my stained sweatpants inhaling trailmix (well, picking out the M&M’s in the trailmix) and watching Wipeout. Guess it’s just my crappy metabolism.
  • Increase energy. I walk to and from the bus stop and/or train station. Then I’m exhausted when I get home/to work. Maybe this will help.
  • Provide Antioxidants. Who doesn’t need a few more antioxidants in their life?

These magic pills are all mostly natural, with Acai berry, green tea, pomegranate, Chaste Tree Extract (can trees BE chaste?) and brown seaweed. Pretty expensive little pills, so I hope they work. After two and a half weeks, I’ll go back to eating sensibly. I just need that kick start to be able to zipper those shorts I bought at American Eagle!

Stuff and Junk…

Miscellaneous crap I need to get off my Favorites list so I can start blogging for real! Uncategorized links that I need, but don’t know where to file them under.

Need help with a Jumble or a crossword puzzle? Use the Scrambled Word/Crossword Puzzle Solver over at the University of Akron.

When I need to tune out my co-workers (and you know who you are), I either plug in Pandora, or turn on the 24/7 online radio station Classical Music Broadcast.

I’ve seen maybe two celebrities on the street in all the years I’ve been working in NYC. So to get my virtual thrill, here is Gawker Stalker.

Housing Works Thrift Shop has some great finds. And it benefits people living with HIV/AIDS.

I signed up to be an agent for Improv Everywhere. They stage some of the best mass pranks in NYC!

Stefan Bucher draws a Monster every day. Love his technique! And, if you’re inspired, add a story about that monster!

Peculiar People on The Human Marvels. Past and present human oddities. Why, you ask, did I bookmark this site?!?

Big Huge Labs lets you do fun stuff with Flickr photos.

Print Mini Printables. My dollhouse definitely needs a miniature NY Times!

I don’t know what one would do with this, but type in your name and it comes up with anagrams. Totally silly. Internet Anagram Server.

I love the GeoGreeting. I wish you can post the final picture as a Jpeg, though. It would be cool to post on a blog or on Facebook.

Need to say something in Russian? Try Free translation. English to almost all the other big languages.

Need something done? Try doing it yourself with Instructables. Especially good around Halloween.

I’ve had this link in my favorites since it happened. It’s time to get rid of it.

Soon. Very soon. Vacation homes in the Caribbean.

If only I had the nerve to send these to some of the people in my life. They’re totally rude, but totally truthful! Some E-cards. This one goes out to a former crazy co-worker of mine.

So I’ve accomplished something today. I cleaned out more of my Favorite links! You really have no idea how many links I’ve saved. Stay tuned for the “stuff to buy” links coming soon!

When Will I Learn?

My mother passed away from skin cancer. I’ve been very conscious of protecting my family and myself with sunscreen when on the soccer field or at the beach. Why, oh why, do I neglect my feet when applying sunscreen? We spent the day with the Corrado’s at Robert Moses Beach today. I slathered the kids, MR and myself with 50 SPF! BUT I FORGOT MY FRIGGIN‘ FEET! I think I have 3rd degree burns on the tops of my feet. Will I be able to wear shoes tomorrow to work? I doubt it. Will my slippers look funny on the train?

On a funny note (and I know my sun burnt feet are pretty funny, but not to me…) we were driving in the scrub to the beach and passed a sign that said “Do not feed the deer.” MR made a hunting reference, of course. Zombiegirl, from the back of the van piped out “I’ll feed the deer- some bullets!”

We’ve created a monster.

Have you Heard About Pandora?

From Wikipedia- “In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mould her out of Earth as part of the punishment of mankind for Prometheus‘ theft of the secret of fire, and all the gods joined in offering this “beautiful evil” seductive gifts. According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar (pithos) in modern accounts referred to as “Pandora’s box“, releasing all the evils of mankind— although the particular evils are not specified in detail — leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again. She might have opened the jar out of simple curiosity and not as a malicious act.”

From the Greek, Pandora means “all-gifted.” A specific gift she was given from Apollo was the Gift of Music.

A few months ago, a co-worker gave me a gift. He told me about Pandora.com. I opened it, used it, and flooded my musical tastes with all sorts of new music. Not to mention my iPod.

Pandora is a product of the Music Genome Project. Created by Will Glase, John Kraft and Tim Westergren to “capture the essence of music at the fundamental level” using over 400 attributes to descrive songs and a complex mathematical algorithm to organize them. Again, from Wikipedia- ” A given song is represented by a vector (a list of attributes) containing approximately 150 “genes” (analogous to trait-determining genes for organisms in the field of genetics). Each gene corresponds to a characteristic of the music, for example, gender of lead vocalist, level of distortion on the electric guitar, type of background vocals, etc. Rock and pop songs have 150 genes, rap songs have 350, and jazz songs have approximately 400. Other genres of music, such as world and classical music, have 300–500 genes. The system depends on a sufficient number of genes to render useful results. Each gene is assigned a number between 1 and 5, in half-integer increments. Given the vector of one or more songs, a list of other similar songs is constructed using a distance function.

To create a song’s genome, it is analyzed by a musician in a process that takes 20 to 30 minutes per song. Ten percent of songs are analyzed by more than one technician to ensure conformity with the standards, i.e., reliability.”

Wow. 20-30 minutes per song? They add 15,000 analyzed tracks to the Music Genome a month. They must have millions of songs in their collection!

Okay. So what? Big deal. What does that mean for me, you ask?

With Pandora.com (which I listen to at work to drown out the large ambient noises) you can set up “stations” using your favorite artist or genre. They will then play songs that are similar (using all those attributes and vector thingys) to what you initially like. For example (and don’t laugh) my stations are:

  • Stone Temple Pilots Radio
  • Billy Joel Radio
  • Queen Radio
  • Christian Rock Radio
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers Radio
  • Traditional Folk Radio
  • Soundgarden Radio
  • Rockin’ Holidays Radio
  • Swingin’ Christmas Radio
  • Classical Christmas Radio
  • Boulevard of Broken Dreams Radio
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Radio
  • Panic At The Disco Radio
  • Fortune Faded Radio
  • Ramones Radio

Currently, I’m listening to “How’s it Going To Be” by Third Eye Blind, on the Red Hot Chili Peppers Radio. Now it’s “Rearviewmirror” by Pearl Jam on the Stone Temple Pilots Radio. I’m using QuickMix- you can check the Radio stations you want to hear, and they’ll “shuffle” for you. So I never know what I’m going to get, but I will know I’ll like it. The Music Genome said so.

“Hello Hopeville” by Michelle Shocked just popped up on the Traditional Folk Radio.

I also loaded Pandora.com onto my iPod. And I have a two page list I compiled this week of all the songs I need to buy from iTunes. Why? Because the Music Genome knows what I like.

Cleaning House- Craft Sites

I’m back to work and cleaning out “My Favorites”- all the websites I find while lurking around waiting for my Archibus to run it’s routines. I missed all my links while I was “unemployed,” so I’m putting them here so I’ll have them forever and ever.

I’ve found something worthwhile and inspirational on each of these sites. Will I ever use any of these talented people’s creative ideas? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’ll have them at my fingertips whenever I have spare time to do a new project. Bwah-ha-ha!

A Little Hut is a master of paper cutting. Her tutorials are great. I especially love the boxes.

Being Crafty has links for making your own envelopes, which I love doing with old calendars and such.

I don’t know how I came across this site, but the tutorial for making a hardcover book is awesome.

Confessions of a Craft Addict is chock full of ideas. I can’t even list all the projects this one has!

Craft Stylish is an online magazine for sewing, embroidery, crocheting, knitting and more. Hit the “Discover” tab to find the categories.

Handmade by Alissa is the quilting queen bee. She also has a lot of sewing projects.

I love Heart of Mary. I used this tutorial to make my neice, Eliza, a messenger bag for Christmas. I’ll also make Zombiegirl a messenger bag to go into 5th grade with next September.

I love this bag. Someday I will make myself one. She also has my phone.

This year I’m making ALL my Christmas cards. Hopefully. This will be one of them.

Mirkwood Designs has tons of templates for envelopes, take out boxes and woven hearts.

Moda Bake Shop is so clever. It’s a division of Moda Fabrics (which I love, and don’t have) and they package their fabrics so you can tell what each “recipe” project needs. And they’re coordinated.

Oh, Fransson! is another quilting queen. She’s got beautiful tutorials.

More box templates.

I love the idea of this perpetual photo wall calendar.

Plum Pudding keeps popping up with all her good ideas on some of the other blogs I frequent.

RosieMoomBeams has great trash-to-treasure projects.

The Purl Bee has tons of tutorials, but I learned how to use my rotary cutter with this tutorial.

Schlosser Designs also has great tutorials- I especially like this pizza box.

A Mingled Yarn has a wonderful Diaper Bag that could double as a messenger bag. I’m going to make a diaper bags for the craft fair- these will be the guide. Also some great tutorial links.

I love YoYo Angels.

The Ultimate Purse List on Craftster!

More templates for cards or scrapbooking.

Cute, free graphics for stationary by Graphic Garden.

Close to My Heart Scrapbooking. Is Ami still consulting?

Okay. The links are safe, now. Let them lay me off again. I’m prepared.